Samaha Chapter 6 Smith Part 2

Samaha Chapter 6 Smith Part 2 - Criminal Law Criminal...

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Criminal Law Criminal Law Chapter 6 Chapter 6 Defenses to Criminal Liability: Excuse Defenses to Criminal Liability: Excuse Part 2 Part 2 CRJU E314 Criminal Law CRJU E314 Criminal Law Spring 2011, Spring 2011, Mr. Smith Mr. Smith
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Insanity Defenses: Burden of Proof Insanity is an affirmative defense and the defendant, who is presumed sane, has the burden of proof in going forward with it. That is, the government is not required to prove the defendant’s sanity , as was required in federal cases until 1984. The question of a defendant’s sanity is brought to a jury in a “bifurcated” (i.e. two part) trial. If, in the first phase of the trial, the defendant is found “not guilty”, the proceeding is over and the defendant is discharged from custody. If, in the first phase of the trial, the defendant is found “guilty”, the jury then hears evidence in a second phase to determine whether he should be held responsible for his criminal actions . It is here where there is a determination of whether the defendant was legally “insane” at the time the offense was committed.
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Effect of a Finding of Insanity The legal outcome of a finding that a defendant was legally insane at the time he committed a criminal act is a verdict known as “Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity” (NGRI). NGRI differs from other “not guilty” findings in one major respect: the NGRI defendant is not released into the public , but is, instead, typically committed for treatment for such period as is medically necessary. NGRI commitments are classified as either “automatic” or “discretionary.”
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Automatic Commitment In many states, a person found “not guilty by reason of insanity” is automatically committed to a mental facility on the basis of the verdict. Under automatic commitment laws, the NGRI acquitee is not entitled to a hearing to determine whether he continues to suffer from a mental illness, or to determine whether his institutionalization is necessary for his or society’s protection.
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Discretionary Commitment In some jurisdictions, the commitment of an NGRI acquitee is not automatic. In these jurisdictions, the trial judge, typically, has authority to require the acquitee to be detained temporarily in a mental treatment facility for observation and examination, in order to determine whether he should be committed indefinitely or for some lesser time period.
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Release of NGRI Acquitees An insanity acquitee may be detained as long as he is both mentally ill and poses a danger either to himself or others. An insanity acquitee may be committed until he meets the criteria for release. As a result, in some states, he may remain in a mental hospital for a far longer period of time than had he actually served a prison sentence for the crime committed .
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